OnStar Announces Stolen Vehicle Slowdown Technology

General Motors and OnStar said last week their Stolen Vehicle Slowdown technology is being offered on more than a million 2009 GM vehicles in the United States and Canada. Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is a tool that allows OnStar, working with law enforcement, to send a signal that interacts with a stolen vehicle's engine, gradually slowing it down and aiding in a safe recovery. More than 500,000 of the equipped cars come from Chevrolet, GM's largest division.

"No other automaker provides its customers the peace of mind that OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown does," said Chet Huber, OnStar's president. "Our subscribers have told us they don't want their vehicle to be the instrument of harm." The company cited National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data showing 30,000 police chases occur each year and result in about 300 deaths.

"Prior to Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, there were only three ways to stop a police chase: The officer elects to terminate the chase, the vehicle being pursued decides to stop, or in the worse case, scenario there is a crash," said David Hiller, national vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police. "With OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, we now have an additional and obviously far safer method. We congratulate GM and OnStar for working with law enforcement as they developed this product."

The tool works when an OnStar subscriber reports a stolen vehicle to law enforcement and calls OnStar to request Stolen Vehicle Assistance. An OnStar adviser uses GPS technology to pinpoint and report the vehicle's location to law enforcement. Once officers have the stolen vehicle in a clear line of sight to know conditions are safe, they can request the adviser to remotely slow it down. The signal reduces engine power and gradually slows the vehicle to idle speed while all other vehicle systems remain fully operational, including power steering and brakes. OnStar, a wholly-owned GM subsidiary, conducted a 25-city tour recently to familiarize law enforcement agencies with the service.

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